Posts tagged with "Southwest Airlines"

40,000 healthcare workers nationwide volunteer for the front lines of New York City’s COVID-19 battle

April 1, 2020

As New York City struggles mightily to get ahead of the swiftly spreading coronavirus pandemic, makeshift hospitals are going up and volunteer healthcare workers—as many as 40,000, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo—are arriving from less-beset areas nationwide to help ease the burden.

Indeed, even as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put out a call for more supplies and personnel, on Friday, a fleet of healthcare workers from Atlanta came to the rescue, CBS News reported.

More than a dozen health care professionals boarded a Southwest Airlines flight to New Yorkthe airline announced on Instagram, sharing a photo from the plane.

Some of the hands were gloved but everyone in the photo had one thing in common—they all were smiling. Southwest said that the photo “embodies it all: bravery, courage, and sacrifice.”

“These brave souls soldier on in the midst of tremendous risk and exposure, constantly putting the needs of others above their own,” Southwest wrote. “Their selfless sacrifice is a beacon of light during such a dark time in our world, and no amount of gratitude and praise would ever be enough.”

“Because of their courage, our family, our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors, and more have a fighting chance,” the post continued.

And that Southwest flight full of healthcare workers is just a fraction of the additional 40,000 doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other medical professionals who have signed up to join the health care force in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this figure on March 25, saying mental health professionals also are volunteering to provide free counseling CBS noted.

“That’s a big, big deal,” Cuomo said

Indeed, the healthcare professionals on the front lines of this battle have faced several challenges, including a lack of personal protective equipment and the risk of contracting the virus themselves.

In addition, many individuals and companies have thanked health care workers in a number of unique ways. Companies like Crocs, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme have announced they will give free goods to healthcare workers during this time.

And some people are thanking workers by sending food to hospitals. Last week Bill and Hillary Clinton, who are residents of Chappaqua, New York, sent more than 400 pizzas to employees at every hospital in Westchester County, New York, to thank them for their tireless effort.

At 7 p.m. each day, New York’s quarantined population goes to windows, open doors, and balconies to applaud and demonstrate their thanks to the medical community.

Research contact: @CBSNews

Scared of boarding the Boeing 737 Max? Southwest will allow flyers to switch planes for free

May 28, 2019

Although Boeing may have completed the requisite fixes to its 737 Max by the end of June, many flyers have “reservations” about boarding those flights. Now, Southwest Airlines has announced that they won’t have to fight to switch.

Indeed, Southwest’s Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Green says they shouldn’t have to worry: “If they’re uneasy about flying on a Max aircraft, we’ll be flexible with them,” he told CNBC. “We’ll be understanding of that and allow them to fly on a different flight without paying any difference in fare.”

The Dallas, Texas-based low-cost carrier does not charge passengers a fee to change their tickets, but it does charge customers the difference in airfare. But in the case of concerns around the Max, an exception will be made.

All 371 Boeing 737 Max airliners in service worldwide have been grounded since March 13 following the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 and Lion Air Flight JT610.

Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 737 Max, with a fleet of 34 aircraft. All 34 planes, which are currently in desert storage in Victorville, California, have been pulled from the flight schedule until at least August 5. However, in a recent statement, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said that the company does not have a confirmed timeline for the 737 Max aircraft to return to service.

Kelly said, “We simply don’t have a confirmed timeline to share with regard to when the MAX will return to service. There have been dates ranging from May to July depending on who is commenting. We have our schedule adjusted through August 5th, and if the aircraft are available to fly earlier, we will use them as additional spares to further enhance the reliability of our scheduled service.

“We remain in constant contact with the FAA, Boeing, and industry regulators, as well as our Employee Unions and industry peers, to prepare for implementation of software updates and additional training that Boeing and the FAA will provide to all operators worldwide,” Kelly continued, adding, “These enhancements will further advance the safe operation of the Boeing MAX 8 aircraft and add yet another layer of Safety, and I am incredibly encouraged by the path forward. I have the utmost confidence in our People, procedures, airplanes, training, maintenance, and performance monitoring systems, enhanced by our data-focused Safety Management System.”

However, according to research conducted by Business Insider, many travelers are anxious. . A poll conducted by the news outlet a week after the Ethiopian Airlines crash showed that 53% of American adults surveyed would not want to fly on a Boeing 737 Max—even after the FAA clears the aircraft for service.

Research contact: @SouthwestAir

Southwest Airlines ‘reins in’ emotional support animals

August 16, 2018

When Southwest Airlines first launched, the carrier created a loosey-goosey image of a fun flyer on which the attendants even sang. Things tightened up considerably on August 14, when the airline announced more stringent rules for bringing “emotional support animals (ESAs)” aboard, effective September 17.

Southwest is limiting passengers to one emotional support animal per passenger—and peacocks, snakes, pigs, turtles, and other unconventional creatures are no longer allowed. Indeed, the carrier now says, the only emotional support animals that will be permitted on flights are dogs, cats, and miniature horses—and the animals must be kept on a leash or in a carrier at all times.

“We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance to our customers,” said Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality Steve Goldberg. “However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing customers and employees a comfortable and safe experience.”

To create these policy changes, Southwest says it has reviewed the recent enforcement guidance issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT), evaluated feedback from passengers and employees, and spoken with “numerous advocacy groups” that represent customers with disabilities who travel with service animals.

Southwest also will introduce an enhancement that recognizes fully trained psychiatric support animals (PSAs) as trained service animals.—saying, “Southwest informally accepted PSAs as trained service animals in the past and the airline is pleased to formalize the acceptance of this type of service animal based upon customer feedback.”

PSAs are individually trained to perform a task or work for a person with a mental health-related disability. A credible verbal assurance will be sufficient to travel with a PSA.

All of this comes with a disclaimer: “For the safety of both Southwest’s customers and employees, all emotional support and service animals must be trained to behave in a public setting and must be under the control of the handler at all times. An animal that engages in disruptive behavior may be denied boarding.”

Southwest joins a number of other airlines that have tightened restrictions on emotional support animals. The spotlight fell on travelers with emotional support animals in January, when United Airlines refused to allow a woman to board a flight with an emotional support peacock.

Also on August 14, the Royal Caribbean cruise line reportedly said it will ban all emotional support animals. The cruise line said emotional support animals are not covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to CBS Miami. There is, however, an exception. ESAs noted on reservations prior to July 30 are protected and will be allowed to sail.

Other carriers, such as American Airlines, also have changed their rules—noting that between 2016 and 2017, the number of ESAs flying in their cabins increased by more than 40%. The animals specifically excluded by American include the following: goats, hedgehogs, ferrets, spiders; and non-household birds, such as chickens and hawks. Unclean animals, or animals with an odor, are banned, too.

Research contact: @SouthwestAir